Commentary Magazine


RE: Dems Not So Enthusiastic

Pete, you are right — these are scary numbers for the Democrats. Some perspective:

GOPers lead the generic Congressional ballot by 4 points, according to this week’s Gallup tracking poll as trends begin to suggest the minority party will take back the House. … According to a model developed by Emory Univ. political scientist Alan Abramowitz, the 4-point lead would be more than enough for the GOP to take back the seats they need to hold a majority. According to the model, if the election were held today, Dems would win just 210 seats, giving the GOP a 15-seat majority.

Meanwhile, Pres. Obama’s approval rating stands at 47%, according to the latest Gallup tracking survey ( pegs Obama’s approval rating at 47.2%). Past trends show a president’s party loses an average of 40 seats if the incumbent’s approval rating is below 50%.

Historically, Dems hold a generic ballot advantage. Dems led the generic ballot by 23 points in ’06, when they swept back into power. GOPers have held advantages only a handful of times, including a 5-point edge in ’94, when the party won back the majority; and a similar margin in ’02, when they gained seats in  George W. Bush’s first midterm election.

Now, trends can change, but they usually change for a reason. A significant event would have to occur — a major economic comeback, for example — for this picture to change dramatically. That is not to say that poor candidate selection or overreach in its message or an off-putting tone could not retard Republicans’ gains. Goodness knows they have a track record of some of each. But at this point, the wind is at the backs of the Republicans, and the era of Obama is proving disastrous for his party.